I know 10 year old me would have absolutely loved this movie. Growing up watching Power Rangers and Voltron, how could a small part of me not enjoy watching large robots battle even bigger monsters? This is the Hollywood big budget version of Ultraman or Godzilla. With a budget of $200 million, it’s easy to see how every dime of it was wisely used on the draw of the film, the epic battle scenes. With that, there is an inherent amount of wackiness to the movie, with some cartoon characters, resulting in a mixed bag of an experience.
I am a science minded person, having taken many physics classes in my travels. If you are like me, turn that switch off in your brain or else you’re going to have a bad time. Like nearly every movie any more, this one opens up with some exposition voice over from
Jax Teller Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) setting the status quo. Quickly we see a Jaeger (giant mech) in action. The effects and cinematography are exactly what you’d expect. This movie is worth seeing in 3D, or IMAX. After a bit of tragedy, the next hour or so drags, centering on character development that fails to deliver on some points.
Idris Elba gives an amazing performance, bringing with him the gravitas that only he can deliver. I want him in more movies, but I’m more than happy rewatching the Wire in the mean time. Rinko Kikuchi (I swear I’ve seen her somewhere else but IMDB is failing me) is two dimension in her performance. I bought into the tragedy she experienced as a child, but mostly because it was a different actress playing a younger version of the character. She was simplistic and didn’t convey her emotions well at all. I commend the writers for not sexualizing her, which would have been incredibly easy to do given she’s the only female character in the movie (the hyper-blonde nameless Russian pilot doesn’t count). Her relationship with Hunnam’s Becket is intended to be the crux of the human element to the film. Both actors, while somewhat failing to deliver on that aspect, managed to at least convey that their relationship was more than potentially romantic.
Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny) and Burn Gorman play scientists/cartoons for comedic relief and to reveal an important element about the Kaijus (again, only two guys to think like this?). I like Charlie Day. Most of his character worked for him, until the third act when he became too over the top. Not to be out down by these two, Ron Perlman is by far the most over the top character in the movie. I can not begin to describe his character, it must be seen to be believed.
I know I’ve been bashing the movie to this point, but I don’t intend for this to be a negative review. I enjoyed the movie, unable to blink during the action scenes. Like every mecha battle to come before, the scale constantly increased, upping the anti, with new abilities of the bots deployed. The eternal question I have watching hundreds of these battles popped in my head; why didn’t you just use the sword right off the bat? I was reminded of Bay’s Transformers as I watched, though I wasn’t nearly annoyed by it.
The trailers for this movie say it all. There’s nothing more to it than that. Yes, Guillermo del Toro directed, but it doesn’t feel like one of his movies. If you have any affinity for giant robots, you owe it to yourself to see this movie. I strongly suggest not taking a girlfriend, you will probably end up owing them two girly movies for this one.
Hunnam did his Jax Teller pimp walk the entire movie. Seriously.